It was a mistake helping automat Carlos Ghosn in his spectacular escape from Japan. Thats what Michael Taylor, one of the two Americans who, because of their help with the flight from Ghosn to Lebanon, said.
“I helped him escape when he was free on bail, and I deeply regret my actions,” he said. “Also because it made me difficult the legal process.”
Ghosn is the former top man of Renault and also the former top man of Japanese car companies Nissan and Mitsubishi. He has lived in Beirut since his escape from Japan at the end of 2019, where he was trapped on suspicion of fraud. Among other things, Ghoson is alleged of misuse of corporate money for private purposes.
Hiding in a coffin
After his arrest in Japan in 2018, he had to resign with the car manufacturers where he was in charge. In December 2019, he managed to flee from Japan, where he was released on bail and grounded. He bypassed surveillance at his house and flew a private plane to Istanbul, hiding in a sound equipment box. From Turkey he flew to Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan. Ghosn has both French, Brazilian and Lebanese nationalities.
Michael Taylor, together with his son Peter Taylor, stands trial for their role in the escape. They were previously delivered to Japan by the US. Pa Taylor was interviewed by his attorney followed by an interview by one of the prosecutors.
Taylor described how he learned that Ghosn wanted to escape, and that Ghosns niece was his wifes sister-in-law. That would have put pressure on him to help the former director.
Series of lawsuits
The Taylors case in Tokyo is the latest in a series of lawsuits around the world regarding Ghosn. Former Nissan director Greg Kelly is currently on trial in Tokyo because he would have given up Ghosns compensation too low. Automaker Nissan sues Ghosn for damages of 10 billion yen, converted around $75 million, in a separate lawsuit in Yokohama.
French researchers have interviewed Ghosn in Beirut about allegations that he transferred funds from Renault. Last month, the former top man was sentenced to pay nearly €5 million to a local Nissan unit in a case in the Netherlands.
By confusing guilt and repenting, the Taylors seem to be looking for a quick conviction and penalty reduction. Theyve been stuck in the US for some time, but its not known if that will count in their conviction in Japan. They are expected to hear their punishment in July.